Realism and wolf AI: any future plans for improvement?


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As the title suggests, I am wondering if The Long Dark is planning to make the AI of their animals, particularly the wolves, more realistic with future updates. I am going to list my observations, but I want readers of this post be aware that I am not really considering the limitations of the game, or what has already been posted in this forum with regards to the subject. I have no game development experience, but as a biology student, I think my insight has potential value.

The most glaring inaccuracies for me as an informed player were:

1. Long Dark wolves' eyes glow bright green at night. Wolves never have green as an eye color. Yellow, orange, brown or amber would be a more realistic portrayal. I think this would be easy to change. On a positive note, I find the wolf skin to be an accurate potrayl.

2. Long Dark wolves do not operate in packs. Wolf packs, consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring, are the most common operating unit wolves function in. Lone wolves do exist for a number of reasons, including dispersal, usurpation, etc, but I was disappointed that there was no pack element for the wolves in this game at all, especially with regards to hunting! I suppose seeing two or three wolves wandering independently in one area could be considered a pack, but they don't work together as far as I can tell, so I don't really consider them to be a pack.

3. Any single wolf attacks any human or deer on sight, with a 100% success rate for deer. I understand that the game needs this sort of challenge for players, but I would still like to state the facts. A lone wolf cannot hunt as efficiently as a pair or a small pack. As such, a lone wolf would only choose to go after a large prey item like a human or deer if the prey was weak in that they could not defend themselves at all, or if the wolf was so desperate that it would choose such a large, dangerous prey as their target. I was disappointed to see any lone wolf who my player got close to would instantly come barreling towards me with the intent of attack, like that of a rabid animal. A human (or deer) who stands their ground would be an opportunity for only the most desperate of lone wolves, or a pack unit, since the risk of injury and energy expended to take down a prey prepared to fight is high. Wolf packs have their greatest hunting success when a prey item chooses to flee rather than stand their ground. It would be interesting to see:

  • Wolve(s) only attacking the player if their condition falls below a certain level, or if they suddenly turn their back and run away from a wolf when in their proximity. Wolves have a strong chase instinct, as their main method of hunting large fleeing prey is to bite and pursue until their prey bleeds out or collapses from exhaustion.
  • Wolves only hunting deer who are old, weak, or injured, unless there is more than one wolf giving chase to a healthy individual. Deer herds with individuals of varying states of health could follow from this idea.
  • Another option would be for wolves to not have a 100% success rate in taking down lone deer, and getting weakened themselves in the process of hunting a deer, regardless of whether they succeed or fail.

In summary, the behaviour currently exhibited by Long Dark wolves fits that of a wolf with the second, aggressive stage of rabies. The object of this post was to ask the Hinterland team what their future plans for the wolves are, and if they are interested in implementing more realistic wolves in The Long Dark. Thanks for reading!

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  • 1 month later...

I can't speak to Hinterland's intentions (although they do state up front that they are not trying to create an accurate animal behavior simulation), but I hope I can speak to gameplay.

Eye color is an easy change, but should only be done if it doesn't affect contrast/visibility.

A wolf pack would make an interesting challenge feature, but I have only ever fought off a lone wolf attack once in Voyageur. So this might be something for Stalker level. Or something that unlocks after a certain number of days survived. Or an event linked to a location -- someplace where you find the rifle and some ammo, where you can see and hear them coming, and where the terrain gives you a decent chance of surviving the encounter.

I like the idea of a wolf that runs away if it feels outclassed, based on character condition or comparative conditions.

I have managed to run away from an attacking wolf in Voyageur, and I don't want to lose a way to survive what is (for me) pretty much an automatic game finisher. Maybe there is a happy medium somewhere? I have some thoughts on wolves stalking the character that might dovetail with this concept, but I want to check the boards before I post them.

The only way I know to get animal resources before snares and rifle is to harvest carcasses, and even after that (I have never successfully used either) it is probably a nice bonus. I'd make wolf success rates static percentages (just easier to program) and set them differently in the three gameplay levels.

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The original post here is pretty old, but just in case anyone else runs across this topic, here's a portion of the startup screen that may answer parts of this question:


So, some mechanics and choices exist to add a challenge for the player, and others may have simply been an artistic decision. That being said, the game is absolutely still in a state of constant change. It's for this reason that constructive feedback like this is welcomed and encouraged.

Thanks, guys!

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